Photographed along Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2008.
Many, many insects and other animals rely on the mesquites that grow along riparian zones and in bosques. The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for native pollinators such as solitary bees. And the foliage, especially when freshly grown in spring or after summer rains supports countless caterpillars. All these insects and the spiders that prey upon them in turn are food for birds such as verdin, bell's vireo and lucy's warbler.
Some critters commonly found on mesquite are from upper left, Marine Blue Butterfly, Casebearer Beetle, Mesquite Thorn Hopper, Leafhopper, Elegant Katydid, Giant Mesquite Bug, Clouded Plant Bug, Egg Mass of Praying Mantis, Adult Praying Mantis, Cuckoo Wasp, Crab Spider, and Bell's Vireo. Click on any image for more detail and discussion.
TREE: Usually a single-trunked tree, but sometimes grows as a large
shrub particularly when cut or fire damaged. Bark of older branches and trunk is dark gray,
A Crematogaster ant on the underside of a leaf of Prosopis velutina at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Aug. 2011. The glistening spots are extra floral nectaries from which these 3mm long ants get food.
RANGE: Frequent throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico
along washes and near riparian habitats. Broad terraces adjacent to riparian streams may
support woodlands predominated by mesquite. These are termed bosque - Spanish for woods.
Ranges into deserts of California to Texas.
Fabaceae -- Bean Family
Sonoran Desert Field
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